Nicki Minaj and Jesse Williams Delight in H&M’s Magical Fairy Tale of a Christmas Ad

The story of a little girl who hunts down an evil Santa

Headshot of Katie Richards

There’s a new contender for most heartwarming—and most stylish—holiday ad of 2017, courtesy of H&M and music video director Johan Renck.

The three-minute film, created by Swedish agency Forsman & Bodenfors, is filled with big names, fancy clothes and an incredibly sweet plot line. Jesse Williams and Nicki Minaj do double duty, first appearing as parents of a little girl who needs a bedtime story because she can’t sleep.

Thinking on his feet, Williams tells her a story of a girl who uses a chemistry set to accidentally open up a parallel universe that is ruled by Santa’s evil brother—played gleefully by John Turturro. The modern-day grinch is stealing and hiding presents belonging to all the children, so this brave little girl must do something to stop him.

Along the way, she encounters parallel-universe Minaj (a wise, mystical creature) and Williams (the fastest fairy in the land), but only she has the power to find the evildoer and make him stop.

It’s a charming story, touching on themes of bravery and strength. Timed to Giving Tuesday, it also has the nice message of sharing what you have with those who are less fortunate–all with a modern spin.

In the end, the girl finds the evil man on her own, with a little help from some stylish women in red and the internet. She rides public transportation to find his cave, which is reminiscent of a post-apocalyptic, decrepit parking lot or abandoned building.

She even shares all her gifts with the other children in the parallel universe by throwing them back through the portal she created with her chemistry set.

“It’s exciting to see our festive designs come to life together with such inspirational talents. They definitely added some extra magic to the film, and we hope that our customers will love how the fashion is presented throughout the holiday season at H&M,” Pernilla Wohlfahrt, H&M’s head of design and creative director, said in a statement.

The ad wraps up nicely with a note that the H&M Foundation will make a donation to Unicef this year, further driving home that theme of giving back. The spot is airing in 67 markets worldwise, says F&B, as well as online.

Last year’s H&M holiday ad was a delightful train story from agency adam&eveDDB and director Wes Anderson.

Client: H&M
Agency: Forsman & Bodenfors
Creatives : Karin Frisell, Anna Qvennerstedt, Johan Holmström
Copywriter Social media: Lycke Ramel, Agnes Uggla
Senior Account Director: Leif Sorte
Account Manager: Patrik Danroth, Martina Carlsson
Designer: Michelle Christiansen, Johan Fredriksson
Junior Designer: Marina Argén
PR: Maja Bredberg
Researcher: Leo Bovaller
Agency Producer, Film: Magnus Kennhed
Production Company: Rockson
Director: Johan Renck
Executive Producer: Magdalena Larsson
Producers: Annabel Ridley, Kalle Wettre
D.O.P: Laurent Tangy
Stylist: Elin af Geijerstam
Set Designer: Jan Houllevigue
Grading: MPC /Jean Clément Soret
Online: Syndicate
Editor: Johan Söderberg
Music: Krister Linder

@ktjrichards Katie Richards is a staff writer for Adweek.